RENT BOY by Gary Indiana

RENT BOY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A hustler tells it like it is in this lively novella--the latest fiction from Indiana (Horse Crazy, 1989, etc.), longtime arts columnist for the Village Voice. Danny, a.k.a. Mark, a.k.a. Billy, has a crowded schedule. The 25-year-old hustler takes architecture courses at Rutgers, works as a gofer for a strung-out gay photographer, and waits tables at a hip writers' club in downtown Manhattan, as well as servicing his male clients (outcalls only) and drumming up new business in hustler bars and bus terminal toilets. Danny focuses on the scene (hustlers and johns locked together); the sex; the client fetishes that provide variety (``Fucking bores me to tears half the time''), and ``all the little slip-ups'' that could lead to HIV infection. It's a diverting tour: the eye is sharp, the style is loose, and the sex notably well-written. But Danny himself is an enigma. We get one glimpse of an abusive father, but ``I came from a dysfunctional family'' is, as he notes, every whore's story. Is he trapped in the life? Who are the ``close friends'' who have no idea he hustles? Who is the former john Danny is writing to (the novella is evidently a series of letters)? We don't know. We learn something about his best buddy, Chip, who despite his ``hustler head'' is ``defenseless...like a kid,'' but the relationship is not developed. Instead, halfway through, Indiana introduces a medical- suspense element: Chip's latest sugar-daddy, a sinister surgeon, wants the two hustlers to abduct a businessman, who will then be relieved of a kidney (at the least). But the caper, which turns gratuitously nasty, is a thrown-together affair and doesn't jibe with the earlier realism. Entertaining but shapeless work from a good writer.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-85242-324-2
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1993




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